from a dad's view

Train keep a rollin all night long – watercolor

I have never been into trains that much, even with my stepdad working for the railroads for 30 years. I think they are incredible machines, but as far as wanting train sets, it just never interest me.  What I loved about the railroad industry, are the tracks.  I have always loved walking the tracks, laying pennies on the track, hunting along the track, I guess just exploring along tracks.  I’m not sure what it is with me, but put me in a woods, creek or along a railroad tracks, and I was a happy boy.  Where I lived we had tracks in several places, but very seldom did we see a train, and there were some tracks where a train never came through, at least not that I had seen.  I think they purposely laid the tracks, just for me to explore.  It’s a passenger train rolling through snow, with steam rolling out the top. What was odd are the green pines and trees in the background, with all the snow on the ground.  This is a 7.5″ x 10″ watercolor on 140 lb   coldpress paper.


29 responses

  1. Wow, Ryan, what you’ve achieved here with watercolors is just stunning. I took a train to the east coast, and while it took 14 very long hours, it was just magical with all the beautiful scenery our nation has to offer. I really feel like you captured that here.

    January 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

    • Thanks Cookie Baker! Yum
      I love the old steam engines and the way the smoke rolls out the top of them, but they were extremely dirty.
      I’m glad this brought back some memories for ya. Happy New Year!

      January 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

  2. This is really wonderful, Ryan! I love the light!!

    January 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

    • Thanks Beth,
      Better on the tracks, on the ground, than in the air… right! LOL
      Thanks and maybe someday you can prove me wrong, but after a lot more flying hours.

      January 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm

  3. I am fascinated with trains! The old steam engines are magical, and you caught this magic in the painting! Totally love it!

    January 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    • I’m not sure what it is but I love the old trains and old cars more than the newer, sleeker styles. Thank you Alex for your kind comment!

      January 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm

  4. I can hear the whistle piercing the cold air! Not so many tracks these days but listened to a program the other day that said the “powers that be” are pushing to switch from truck to high speed rail but they don’t know, as yet, the best route to lay tracks. This is a gem of a painting, Ryan!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    • Thank you Leslie, I too can hear the whistle and I think it’s calling in Spring or at least warmer weather.

      January 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm

  5. This is a wowzer! You are able to capture so much detail in a very small painting. I am incredibly impressed with your talent. Beautiful! Love the contrast between the steam and snow and the forest and the perspective you chose makes a great painting.

    January 6, 2011 at 5:20 am

  6. Bro

    lil bro –
    your latest ‘tracked’ my attention. loved the train detail, and yes I also remember those r&r tracks in our youth. Do you recall the time we thought we could get home earlier from school by following a track instead of taking the bus, and arrived home 45 minutes later then normal -boy was pops ready to ‘derail’ us for that one! lol great memories, and one great piece of art.

    January 6, 2011 at 7:22 am

    • Thanks Bro,
      We weren’t always as smart as we are now! LOL

      January 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

  7. I love trains. I use to play on them as a child myself, but like you never had a train set. Not something anyone really thought to give a little girl I guess. lol. I did ride on an Amtrak once across county though; it was fun too. I recommend you give it a try.
    Your story mostly reminds my of my husband though. He grew up in the county, with a creek and railroad tracks right across the country road he lived on. As a boy he played down there and fished in the creek.
    I’m expecting some watercolors to arrive in the mail in the next day or so; both the pencils and the paints. I’ve never tried the medium before, but am eager to give my hand a try at it. I think your blog may help me alone the way some.
    Your “Train Painting” is excellent!!

    January 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

    • Thank you Debbie,
      Just like your husband as a kid, give me a woods, creek, or country road and I could spend my life exploring one or the other. Thank you again for being kind and visiting. Can’t wait to see some watercolors from you soon, and if there’s anything I can do to help just give me an email or comment.

      January 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm

      • So far with my watercolors I seem to be making mud.

        January 12, 2011 at 9:15 am

      • It’s tough at first, but with your talent it will come around. A watercolorist advised me to “hit it once, and then leave it alone” which I find hard to do. I seem to always want to over work the painting and build layers as in oils or acrylics, if I do this, it always ends up muddy.

        January 12, 2011 at 9:24 am

      • Then that is what I’ve been doing wrong. I’ve been hitting the wet brush on it too many times thinking I could create a dark to almost gone fade appearance.
        I will practice your advice today. Thank you so much for you help!

        January 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

  8. This train is super cool and I love the big white cloud of smoke coming out of it’s stack.

    January 6, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    • Thanks Carol,
      The steam and snow is really what captured my eye also. I love contrast and the dark trees and train, just popped from the surrounding white.

      January 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm

  9. sarahloub

    I love this! I hope that I can paint something like this someday… I have a ways to go!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    • Oh now, I have seen your talent and it’s beautiful! But thanks for the very kind comment, I’ll be visiting often.

      January 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm

  10. aswirly

    Oh I LOVE how you’ve captured the steam from the train. Just lovely. For about a year when I was 19 I operated a miniature steam locomotive. It was mini, but it was real. Had to arrive early and grease the wheels, light the fire (one time I even blew off my eyebrows. lol)…got lots of steam burns too…

    January 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

    • Wow, it’s always good to let off some steam, but I’m not sure that’s what they meant! LOL
      I don’t see you doing this type of work, greasing wheels, firing up the boiler, loosing eyebrows to the steam… really, REALLY?
      thanks for the kind words!

      January 8, 2011 at 6:01 pm

  11. napabelle

    Your work is absolutely stunning! Bravo!

    January 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    • Thank you, I had fun with this painting and gave it to a friend that love train and model trains. Thank you again!

      January 12, 2011 at 6:58 am

  12. Angelo

    Wow Ryan,I really love this one! I’ve never been on an actually train before but this makes me want to ride one!!!

    On another note though, Happy Birthday! I’ve known you for almost a year know and it has been really interesting to get to know you and your wonderful family, even if you do like the redskins..well have a great birthday and enjoy every bit of it!

    January 12, 2011 at 6:41 am

    • Thanks Angelo,
      It’s been a good year… even though you’ve been around! LOL
      I can’t believe it’s been a year already, that’s almost the same amount of time as the last Redskins win!

      January 12, 2011 at 6:55 am

  13. Holy crap, that is GREAT! Very impressive! I am sort of a train fan as my 6 year old twins go nuts over them. We live next to a railroad museum. Great watercolor!!!

    January 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm

  14. Francis

    I just love trains. But never i seen a real steam engine, i guess one need to travel to US to see this real beauty. The green and the steam from the train compliment each other vey well. It’s a fantastic painting Ryan.

    January 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm

  15. Wow this is a great painting i like it alot.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

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